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How to make the most of your lockdown time

Progress your office work skills and get ready to land a great office job after lockdown by taking matters into your own hands and using this time to prepare to get your office career back on track.

Many temporary workers across the country lost their jobs overnight when the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic lockdown measures came into force bringing with it, prolonged periods of self-isolation, financial concerns and career uncertainty. 

Regaining control over your career with office work skills development strategies is a great way to get through the lockdown period. Keep reading to see our top online training courses, 7 ways to refresh your job hunting assets, career development ideas for temporary office workers and much more. 

Returning to work

With lockdown restrictions set to be lifted slowly and safely, many are anticipating returning to work in the not too distant future. What the workplace will look like is still to be seen but the government’s recent phased plan announcements have provided a glimpse of what could be to come. Face to face meetings could continue to be banned for the foreseeable future, two metres social distancing markers have the potential to be a permanent fixture throughout the office and the suggestion of cubical working to return over the recently favoured open place office spaces has been put forward.

Don't let fear derail your future career prospects

With uncertainty surrounding what safety measures it will be possible to implement in various working environments, the prospect of returning to work and being in close proximity to colleagues and customers is understandably worrying for many. 

Fear and worry can be debilitating, making even the most routine of tasks seem unachievable and so leaf unchecked, it has the potential to negatively affect your career aspirations. You cannot move forward if you are paralysed by fear and worry so it is important to resolve these anxious feelings in order to start to see the potential that is ahead of you. If you are fearful of returning to a working environment after lockdown has ended, check out this post from our very own Caree R Hunter as she shares her own story of not letting fear derail her career.

Learning a new skill can provide a sense of control, forward momentum and self-confidence all of which will help you cope with any lockdown anxiety struggles.

Time to spare

Before lockdown measures were implemented, back when going to work every day, using public transport and cramming 20 people into a lift was normal, many of us complained that while we would welcome the opportunity to develop our office work skills, we just simply didn't have the time. We were all too busy working and earning to invest time into our future working opportunities and tap into our future earning potentials. 

While none of us would have wished for a global pandemic, out of every storm follows a clear sky and making the most of your lockdown time is your chance to finally utilise the time you never thought you would have. 

Inspirational stories are emerging across the internet that draw parallels with the current lockdown situation and other times in history where enforced isolation or imprisonment has not stopped determined individuals from positive progression and career development opportunities. The most well-known tale would have to be that of William Shakespeare. The bubonic plague raged and plateaued to varying degrees throughout the entirety of Shakespeare’s life. Between the years 1606 to 1610, Shakespeare wrote some of his most successful plays even though the public theatres and playhouses had been ordered to close for extended periods of time. 

This is inspirational to just what can be done when you have the time and the inclination to put that time to good use. 

Lockdown and unemployment

In the 3 months prior to lockdown, unemployment increased by 50,000 to 1.35 million, UK unemployment claims shot up more than 69% and the number of job vacancies fell by 170,000 as the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic started to be felt. 

As the UK slowly but surely prepares to return to work and strategies to relax lockdown measures come into force the number of job vacancies will begin to climb but with 1.35 million people out of work temporary and permanent job hunting is likely to become highly competitive in the coming months. Working on your job hunting assets such as your CV and personal statement, enrolling on online training courses to develop your office work skills and creating a career development strategy will give you an edge over other candidates who have not used their lockdown time effectively.

Learning opportunities for lockdown

Word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations will always be a part of your office role but the skills that will make an even greater difference to your abilities and your career extend far beyond the usual office skills and out into the realms of personal development and software specific wider reading. Click here to find out what the top 10 office work skills for 2020 are. 

Online learning platforms such as edX have seen a huge upturn in enrolments since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak. Coursera saw 500,000 new enrolments on its 'Science of Well Being' course in a single weekend. There is no doubt that online training courses are the place to be for anyone wanting to develop their office work skills. 

Top 4 online training courses

  1. edX - Free online open source course platform founded by Harvard and MIT. A fantastic selection of courses taught by professors from institutions such as Berkeley, Harvard, Penn and many more.
  2. Skill Share - An online learning platform with free and paid access options. Leaning towards the creative space you can learn anything from photoshop to coding, and illustration to a new language in no time. 
  3. Udemy - With a slight tilt towards the more professional skills such as IT, software, business and entrepreneurship, Udemy is a great choice if you want to work on your office work skills.
  4. Coursera - Provides both paid and free courses from top US universities such as Yale, Stanford and John Hopkins. 

Free English and Maths courses

Sometimes going back to basics is the best way to build a solid foundation from which to leap from, brushing up on your functional skills could be just what you need to kick start your learning and development.

Learn how to use trending productivity software

The productivity software industry has grown at an unprecedented rate with just 34% of people still planning their daily work out on paper, 56% of people now use online software as part of their normal day to day routine. As an office worker you will find as you move from placement to placement you will be expected to know how to use productivity software. With all of them free to use you can quickly get ahead of your competition by learning the ins and outs of the most popular office productivity software well ahead of time. 

Top 3 productivity systems that workplaces are using right now

  1. Asana – Asana enables to do lists, projects, group working, employee tracking and so much more. Behind the scenes, Uber, TED and Intel all use Asana as their core communication method. 
  2. Trello – A simple, clean user friendly software that allows you to create to do lists and delegate amongst colleagues and utilises many integrations including Evernote, Git Hub, Google Drive and Slack. 
  3. Slack – More of a mighty communication interface than a task tracking one. Slack is great for internal comms, direct messaging, video calling, file sending and group discussions. 

Transferrable skill development in lockdown

Identifying and working on your transferrable office skills is an excellent way to ensure that you are considered a strong candidate for any position.

10 transferable skills for office workers

  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Researching
  • Brainstorming and creativity
  • Time management
  • Problem-solving
  • Typing
  • Communication
  • Telephone manner

Click here to find out how you can build on and maximise these transferrable skills. 

Preparations for job hunting 

Having some free time on your hands before you launch your job hunting campaign is a great, this is your opportunity to refresh all of the job hunting materials you need to use. 

7 ways to refresh your job hunting assets

  1. Access our free CV templates
  2. Find out how you can improve your CV
  3. Find out how to create a unique personal statement 
  4. Find out how to perfect your online job application techniques
  5. Find out how to register with Blue Arrow 
  6. Find out how to utilise self branding  
  7. Find out how you can use your parenting skills to land a great job 

Career Paths UK - Career ideas for office workers

If you have experience of working in an office or with computer systems, then your job placement options are plentiful especially if you have been developing extra skills throughout lockdown. You could even get started on applying for new office jobs now, almost anything that can be done in an office could be done remotely providing the employer has the provisions and procedures in place.  

The following office roles have all successfully continued working throughout the lockdown period by utilising remote working techniques so you may find that there are job opportunities available in these roles right now for those with the right skills. 

Where next? 

Click here to see how your existing and new office skills could be used in all of these roles and see more office job suggestions.

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